There are a few harsh realities to be discovered upon replaying Batman: The Telltale Series. The studio in question, Telltale Games, recently made a comeback to the industry after stepping back from creating incredible titles due to financial limitations. Now that it has returned, it’s an important time to look across their previous franchises before looking to what’s coming next, from further Wolf Among Us releases to The Expanse.

It’s hard to find many flaws with Batman: The Telltale Series, but a replay in the modern era forces some comparisons to the best DC Batman comics and other character-led Bruce Wayne video games. New players who are not relying on a sense of nostalgia when viewing the video game might also react differently to the series, which includes two installments. The first title is perhaps the most crucial area of analysis, as the second game goes in a new direction again, although it also carries over some of those same harsh realities.

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10 No Traditional Combat System

A screenshot of Batman standing in the rain during Batman: Arkham Knight.

The Batman: Arkham series has forever changed the way that audiences look at superhero games. Indeed, Rocksteady’s inventive combat system has changed the gaming industry, in general, but the hand-to-hand style that incorporated perfectly timed combos, blocking, and gadget usage was the ideal system to build for Bruce Wayne’s DC vigilante.

The Telltale entry is a great but overlooked game in the Batman franchise, but it doesn’t quite live up to the lofty heights of Arkham when it comes to a competitive combat system. The harsh reality of a replay is that the conflicts are largely resolved through more tactical means, with plenty of quick-time events filling out the interactive component of boss battles.

9 The Play Through Is Short

An image of Batman and Catwoman in the Batman Telltale game

It’s hard to deny that Batman: The Telltale Series is addictive. It’s so satisfying to play through a fourth or fifth time, especially after making different choices on a previous attempt. However, despite the fact that the game has players coming back for more, it doesn’t actually take all that long to complete, with an estimated eight to nine hours of complete playing.

The second game, The Enemy Within, might take the runtime to the 10-hour mark, but while the harsh realities of the Batman Arkham series are apparent, they did provide players with a full-length story. Batman: The Telltale Series offers up a satisfying conclusion, but it is a shame that it doesn’t run longer considering how intriguing this variation of Gotham truly is.

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8 It Was Originally Released In Episodes

An image of Penguin threatening someone in Telltale's Batman

One of the harsh realities of replaying Batman: The Telltale Series is that the game was originally released in episodes. Indeed, the sequel followed the same format, as it is a method of distribution that Telltale has become well known for, treating its video games as if they are TV shows with audiences having to wait a period of time between each installment.

It was frustrating to have to wait so long at the time. As one of the best Batman games, the title flows far better now that all episodes are available, although even from an interface perspective it is still a little more complex than usual to launch into the next aspect of the project, considering they are unfortunately still separated in their episodic format.

7 It Has A Limited DC Universe

An image of Bruce Wayne with his arms crossed in Batman The Telltale Series

DC games are exciting to play because of their links to the wider universe. Fans love to see Easter eggs throughout the Arkham titles, while the Injustice franchise has thrived on character crossovers. One harsh reality of Telltale’s Batman is that it doesn’t have many links to the wider DC Universe, limiting its narrative potential to only Bruce Wayne’s world.

Even the best versions of Gotham City in Batman games have decided to take a more nuanced and small-scale approach to DC lore, and that’s respectable. But for those hoping to see Superman fly past, or even a tiny nod to Zatanna in the form of a magic shop, this is one area where the Telltale iteration is definitely lacking. Perhaps Wayne is one of the few vigilantes out there.

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6 It Recycles Familiar Foes

An image of The Riddler in Telltale's Batman game

Batman’s cast of characters is almost endless. However, it’s a common misconception that only a few are worth adapting outside of the comics. There is a list of villains that are reused again and again, such as Penguin, Joker, Riddler, Falcone, and Maroni. But Telltale’s Batman series falls into the same trap, recycling the same names.

There are several overused villains in the Batman Arkham games, and every series from the DC Universe has exhibited this harsh reality at some stage. The Children of Arkham are an exception to the rule, with Lady Arkham at least acting as a largely original figure with whom Bruce Wayne battles. It’s a shame that inventiveness could not have been expanded to obscure figures.

5 Few Games Replicate The Aesthetic

An image of Batman and Gordon in the Telltale Series

The Telltale games have such a unique visual style that it’s hard to find any other franchise that looks as consistently good as this. This can be deemed a harsh reality in multiple ways. Some players prefer a more authentic and photo-real look when playing a superhero title. This might not quite meet their standards, as it is definitely more graphic in its imagining.

While it would be great to see this superhero game get a remaster, even in its original form, it’s far ahead of the competition in terms of adapting a comic book-style aesthetic into a motion game. The storytelling and artwork assist one another throughout the game, giving players a truly cinematic experience that isn’t copied elsewhere. Another harsh reality is that this is just so rare.

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4 It Plays Fast & Loose With Lore

An image of Batman The Enemy Within from the Telltale Series

When Telltale does decide to adapt familiar figures, it plays fast and loose with the lore of DC Comics. This addresses one harsh reality in that it keeps these characters and Batman’s world feeling fresh, while letting the studio imagine a story in a more creative way. But purists might be upset with the direction some beats go in.

The voice acting rivals the best from the Arkham series and helps to embody the characters. But those characters, such as Penguin, have been changed to suit the narrative needs. The Oswald and Wayne family links are explored here for instance, with Wayne’s own parents getting dragged through a corruption scandal that some might not be happy with. Others, such as Joker, have alternative origins depicted.

3 It Changes Key Figures

An image of Vicki Vale drinking a martini in DC Comics.

Moving away from Batman lore is one area to contest with, but the harsh reality for those that love the original material is one specific character is altered in a major way. The significant changes occur for Vicki Vale, who has always been a strong ally to Bruce Wayne, a powerful journalist, and a long-term love interest that even got adapted to the big screen.

All the incredible BatmanArkham games adapt Vicki in some capacity, but for the Telltale series, Batman enthusiasts will see the character transformed into the major villain. With a violent and tragic backstory, the murderous Lady Arkham, leader of the Children of Arkham, is identified as the very Vicki Vale that has been consistently portrayed in an extremely different light. Change can be irritating for some.

Related: 5 Batman Villains Who Would’ve Been Perfect For The Dark Knight Trilogy

2 Consequences Of A Player’s Actions Are Variable

An image of the Batman suit, Alfred and Bruce Wayne in Batman the Telltale Series 

Playing through the Telltale title for a fourth or fifth time might make the consequences of a player’s choices a little clearer. However, upon a first or second play, the harsh reality is that the choices that the player makes don’t seem to have any immediate impact, and the story naturally goes in a specific direction, regardless. There are very few signposts to suggest what will change.

Not even the best Batman games have that kind of choice tree available, so it’s important to highlight the value of Telltale’s originality in making the story so interactive. While in the midst of battle, certain tactical options will have a startling and very immediate consequence, but how Bruce Wayne should navigate the narrative to benefit the long term isn’t immediately clear.

1 There’s No Third Installment

An image of The Joker in Telltale's Batman game 

Regardless of some criticisms or differences in taste, there is surely consensus that the very original Telltale take on The Dark Knight is well worth playing. The harsh realities are tiny compared to the joy that many will get from experiencing the interactive story in a way that few other projects replicate. It’s thus disappointing that there is no third installment.

The best Batman video games, according to IMDb, are trilogies. The Arkham and LEGO series are both great examples of fantastic releases that had a beginning, middle, and end over multiple games. Perhaps with Telltale fully revisiting previous productions, it is the time to finally gain a third Batman entry, but for now, the harsh reality is that there are only two Telltale classics.

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